Korea's Special Festivals

Festivals are one of the special joys of travel. They provide visitors with hands-on experiences of a country’s history and culture. Plus, festivals provide an opportunity to associate with local people in a natural way. Korea hosts a wide range of festivals all year round. Here are some festivals from January to December that may be of special interest to foreign visitors.

[January] Ulsan Ganjeolgot Sunrise Festival:
Watch the First Sunrise of the Year and Make a Wish!

On New Year’s Day, many Koreans like to gaze at the rising sun robustly pushing through the horizon, while making New Year’s wishes and praying for the health of their families. Because of this, on New Year’s Day, every popular vista in Korea crowded with visitors observing the rising sun. Among these hot spots, 
Ganjeolgot Cape in Ulsan is well-known as the place that offers a view of the earliest sunrise in Korea. The deep blue sea, a white lighthouse, a gigantic mailbox—all come together to create a gorgeous vista. Plus, a variety of events, such as launching wish balloons, are held there. Come on down and share in the enthusiasm emanating from this wonderful place!

[February] Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival:
A Festival That Will Make You Forget the Chill of Winter

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival is Korea’s representative winter festival held from mid-January until early February. The highlights of the festival are sancheoneo (a species of trout) ice fishing and a game that involves catching fish by hand. The enjoyment from these activities will make you completely forget the chill of midwinter. In addition, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities such as ice sledding, ice soccer, and an ice sculpture exhibition. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover a genuine Korean winter!

[March] Jinhae Gunhangje Festival:
Come and Enjoy the Romantic Bloom of Spring Flowers with Someone Special!

In spring, Korea hosts numerous local festivals around the theme of beautiful spring flowers. Among them, the 
Jinhae Gunhangje Festival is considered the most romantic spring festival and is especially popular among young couples. When Jinhae’s cherry blossoms are in full bloom, between late March and early April, the scenery along the Yeojwacheon Stream is truly mesmerizing. Don’t miss a photo op at the “Roman Bridge,” a popular filming spot for K-dramas!

[April] Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival:
The Modern-Day Miracle of Moses

Dubbed the “modern-day miracle of Moses,” the mysterious 
Jindo Miracle Sea Road has become a popular global destination that draws tourists from both Asia and Europe. Here, the walkable sea road emerges when the tide goes out. Around April, when the festival is held, a whopping 40-meter sea road is revealed. Why not walk the sea road yourself, and experience the mystery?

[May] Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal (Tea Bowl) Festival:
A Great Festival for Pottery Enthusiasts!

Korean pottery has long been revered for its blend of artistic and practical values. Mungyeong is one of the pottery capitals of Korea, with the oldest firewood kiln and hundreds of ancient kiln sites remaining in the region. Between late April and early May every year, 
a festival is held here around the theme of chasabal, which means “tea bowl.” In fact, the plain shape of a chasabal is in some way embedded with the spirit and care of the artisan who created it. During the festival, visitors can make their own chasabal, or buy gorgeous pieces made by pottery artists at affordable prices. We recommend the festival to all travelers interested in pottery. Don’t miss it!

[June] Hansan Mosi (Ramie) Cultural Festival:
A Festival Dedicated to a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Considered the best traditional natural fabric, 
Hansan mosi (fine ramie), with its 1,500 years of history, is representative of traditional cultures and specialty products of the Seocheon region. As such, the weaving of mosi in the Hansan region was globally recognized, being inscribed on the UNESCO list of  Intangible Cultural Heritage. Every June, when the Hansan Mosi Cultural Festival is held, visitors can witness the weaving of the fabric by elders from the area, or shop for a variety of ramie products.

[July] Gangjin Celadon Festival:
Where You Can Fully Appreciate the Beauty of Celadon, Korea’s Representative Pottery.

Goryeo celadon, one of the representative types of Korean art, is well-known for its mysterious hues and elegant patterns. Dubbed in the old days as the “home of celadon,” Gangjin is where world-class celadon artworks were once created. Held annually between late July and early August, 
Gangjin Celadon Festival advertises the beauty of Gangjin celadon as well as offers a variety of experience programs that utilize clay and spinning wheels. What’s more, exciting performances and games are available to cool off the heat of summer, attracting droves of visitors

[August] Muju Firefly Festival:
An Environmental Festival That Lets You Relish Nature

Fireflies are insects designated as a natural monument by the Korean government. They live in a clean natural environment and fly around in the darkness of night, while emitting a mysterious light. Famous for its clean water and air, Muju is home to many firefly habitats, which make it a perfect place for 
a firefly festival, which is held annually between late August and early September. During this period, together with experts, visitors can participate in firefly explorations and various other ecological experiences. For those interested in experiencing Korea’s pristine natural environment, this festival shouldn’t be missed.

[September] Sancheong Medicinal Herb Festival:
A Festival Taking Place in Sancheon,
Home of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Medicinal Herbs

Jirisan Mountain is known as the origin for more than a thousand species of medicinal herbs. As the region where the mountain is located, Sancheon is considered home to traditional herbal medicine and medicinal herbs. Here, 
a medicinal herb festival is held in every September. During the festival, visitors can purchase high-quality medical herbs at affordable prices. In addition, they can enjoy a wide range of experience programs that include a free medical diagnosis by herbal medicine specialists. Plus, you can try yakseon umsik (medicinal food), ensuring you emerge from the festival healthier than when you arrived!

[October] Icheon Rice Cultural Festival:
Where You Can Taste the Best Rice, the Staple Food of Korea

Rice is the staple of the Korean diet. Traditionally, the Icheon region was famous for its tasty and nutritious rice—good enough to be served to kings, and even these days, “Icheon rice” is almost considered a brand name. Every October, during the rice harvest, 
Icheon hosts a rice cultural festival. This festival is a perfect opportunity for visitors to experience the traditional agricultural culture of Korea. The highlight of the festival is an event where people share steamed rice cooked in an enormous iron cauldron, which they say can cook rice to feed some 2,000 people at once. Isn’t that amazing? Moreover, a variety of experience programs are available for foreign visitors such as making songpyeon (a type of Korean rice cake), so why not come on down to Icheon and create special memories?

[November] Suncheonman Bay Reeds Festival:
The Only Coastal Wetland Where Nature and Humans Coexist

One of the world’s five major coastal wetlands, Suncheonman Bay is referred to as a “treasure chest of life” with its harmonious combination of vast wetlands, thick reed fields, countless wetland creatures, and migratory birds. Although beautiful all year round, the scene of silvery reeds fluttering in the wind on a deep autumn day is a special treat. 
The Suncheonman Bay Reeds Festival is held annually in early November, and filled with a wide array of experience programs and other enjoyable activities, not to mention the gorgeous autumn vista.

[December] Lighting Festival at the Garden of Morning Calm:
The Harmony between Nature and Light

Well-known for its traditional beauty, the Garden of Morning Calm hosts a special festival of lights every winter. Officially referred to as the 
Lighting Festival, the event features LED lights in variegated colors which embellish the garden with splendor. Especially, when the garden is covered in snow, this creates uniquely gorgeous scenery, drawing many visitors. Here you can enjoy an exquisite and romantic vibe as if in a world of fairy tales, so if you want to experience an exotic Korean winter vista, this festival is something you shouldn’t miss.
* This page was last updated on January 31, 2018, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here!


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